Maine CDC Press Release

April 26, 2009

Simple Steps Can Reduce Spread of Swine Flu; No Confirmed Cases in Maine

Governor's Office

AUGUSTA – In response to confirmed cases of people infected with swine influenza (swine flu) in several states and Mexico, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services has been working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to increase tracking of influenza in Maine, including swine flu, and to make preparations to minimize its impact.

"We have seen a decrease in seasonal influenza in Maine these past few weeks, and have not detected any swine flu yet," said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, the Director of the Maine CDC. "However, with this outbreak spreading, it is likely we will see it in Maine. Our goal is to minimize its impact."

So far, there have been no fatalities associated with swine flu in the United States.

"Everyone has an important role in making sure swine flu has a minimal impact in Maine. We can all be vigilant in practicing respiratory hygiene," Mills said.

These strategies include:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.

People returning from visiting areas with confirmed swine flu, such as Mexico, Southern California, Southern Texas and more areas as added by CDC, should pay close attention to their health for seven days.

"If you become sick with the symptoms of swine flu during this period, you should call your health care provider with the information about your symptoms and where you traveled," Mills said.

Mills will hold a media availability at 11 a.m. Monday at Maine CDC, 286 Water Street, Key Plaza, 8th Floor, in Augusta.

The symptoms of swine flu in people appear to be similar to the symptoms of regular human influenza and include fever with cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills or fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

Governor John E. Baldacci has been briefed on the situation and is tracking developments through the Maine CDC.

"While there are no confirmed cases of the swine flu in Maine, we are taking precautions to ensure that we can quickly identify and track any outbreak," Governor Baldacci said. "It’s important to remember that a few simple steps, like washing your hands or staying home if your ill, can make a real difference in helping to stop the spread of the flu."

Maine has been working closely with the federal government and other public health officials in New England on strategies for detecting and tracking cases of the swine flu and on potential responses. For facts about influenza, and more information about swine flu, please visit the Maine CDC and U.S. CDC Web sites. Some specific resources:

Maine CDC Web site on Swine Flu: www.mainepublichealth.gov; or http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/boh/swine-flu-2009.shtml

U.S. CDC Web site on Swine Flu: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/

Preventing the Flu: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm

Swine flu is a respiratory infection caused by influenza type A viruses that regularly cause outbreaks of influenza in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can occur. Human cases typically involve people who have had direct contact with pigs, but person-to-person transmission is suspected among recent cases in the U.S. The infected people in Mexico have had a high fatality rate, but the recent cases from California and Texas have been mild. Swine influenza cannot be transmitted from eating pork or pork products.